Boston Age-Friendly Action Plan Developed With Gerontology Institute Research

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the city’s Elderly Commission have launched the first-ever Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan. He called it a blueprint to make Boston the best city and place to live for older adults within three years.

The 75 action items in the plan were developed through 25 listening sessions, featuring engagement from over 4,000 older residents throughout the city developed in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Boston, AARP and the Tufts Health Plan Foundation.

The Elderly Commission formed a partnership with the Gerontology Institute at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School, supported by a grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, to conduct research based on the guidelines set forth by the World Health Organization. Grounded in community feedback, the plan identifies recommendations and action items the City will take to enhance the quality of life for Boston’s older adult residents.

“Older Bostonians are the fastest growing segment of Boston’s population, and we’re focused on making Boston as friendly and inclusive as possible to residents aging in our City,” said Walsh. “This action plan represents Boston’s commitment to working with the community, identifying concerns, and providing real, impactful solutions.”

The Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan is organized around eight key life domains: Housing, transportation, outdoor spaces and buildings, community health and support services, employment and civic engagement, social participation, respect and social inclusion, and communications and information. The release of the plan on May 23 marked the start of its implementation.

“We are very proud to have been part of a process that will help Boston adapt to an aging population, a dramatic demographic shift that will affect every city in America in the near future,” said Jan Mutchler, director of the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging at the UMass Boston Gerontology Institute. “The city’s action plan responds to the needs of the community and will help make Boston a leader in the age-friendly movement.”

“This action plan honors the voice of community and the rich diversity of Boston’s neighborhoods,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “Throughout its process, the City of Boston has been an active listener and envisions communities that are relevant to our changing demographics. Boston will be more accessible, healthier, and age-friendly as the City moves toward implementation of the Plan.”

Mike Festa, AARP Massachusetts Director, said, “There is a pressing need to create livable communities for people of all ages. In less than 15 years, one out of every five people in the country will be 65 or older, a demographic shift tha t will be felt in every community. The City of Boston’s Age-Friendly Action Plan can provide a model to inspire even more creativity and sharing of best practices to spur innovation in making all communities great places for people of all ages.”

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